Judges 6:40 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 6:40, NIV: That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.

Judges 6:40, ESV: And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.

Judges 6:40, KJV: And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.

Judges 6:40, NASB: And God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground.

Judges 6:40, NLT: So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew.

Judges 6:40, CSB: That night God did as Gideon requested: only the fleece was dry, and dew was all over the ground.

What does Judges 6:40 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Gideon's initial faith seems weak—even pathetic—when first reading these passages. As the battle to save Israel from the Midianites looms (Judges 6:33), Gideon is asking God for repeated, unreasonable, miraculous signs that He really wants Gideon to take these actions. Perhaps Gideon thought God would not grant such an insignificant request and he could back out of the mission. We're not told his full motives. We only know he has often demonstrated insecurity and fear (Judges 6:15, 17, 27, 36–38).

And yet, God seems graciously willing to give Gideon every reason to believe he is the deliverer chosen to save Israel (Judges 2:11–19). First, Gideon asked for God to make a furry animal skin wet after being left out in a field overnight, while the surrounding ground was dry. God did that. Next, Gideon asked God to invert the miracle, causing the ground to be wet with dew and the wool to be completely dry. God has done that, as well.

It's challenging to consider that God almost always condemns those who insist on unreasonable proof (Matthew 12:38–39; 1 Corinthians 1:22–23). And yet, He not only obliges Gideon, but Gideon's name will also be listed as an example of faithful obedience (Hebrews 11:32–34). One possible answer is that Gideon was exactly as timid and insecure as he first appears. For such a man, being asked to lead a volunteer army against hordes of enemies would have been terrifying. It's often noted that bravery is not the absence of fear, but a person's willingness to act despite being afraid. By that standard, Gideon's obedience seems to be exceptionally brave, indeed.

Also noteworthy is the fact that after this moment, Gideon asks for no more signs. He is courageous—if still sometimes afraid (Judges 7:9–11)—and pursues God's will with resolute intensity.

After this second custom-designed miracle, Gideon seems satisfied that God really wants him to lead a war against Midian. Or he may conclude there is no way to get out of it. Either way, he will faithfully and obediently follow God's will, including the surprising preparations for battle, which begin in the following chapter.